March 2, 2018 / 4:58 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-French grain conditions fall to four-year low

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PARIS, March 2 (Reuters) - The condition of winter crops in France deteriorated last week to hit a four-year low, ahead of a sharp drop in temperatures recorded this week in the bloc’s largest grain producer.

Farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday that 83 percent of French soft wheat was in good or excellent condition by Feb. 26, down from 85 percent a week earlier and 93 percent a year ago.

That was the lowest level of good and excellent crop conditions at this point of the season since 2014.

A bitter cold snap worsened in Western Europe this week raising concerns of damage to crops although crop analysts had expected little impact in France and said it may even help diminish the threat from pests and diseases.

For winter barley, FranceAgriMer said 80 percent of the crop was in good or excellent condition by Feb. 26 versus 82 percent a week earlier and 90 percent at the same point last year, while 77 percent of the durum wheat was in good or excellent condition versus 79 percent a week earlier and 82 percent last year.

Winter barley and durum conditions also recorded the weakest conditions seen at this point of the season since 2014.

Spring barley continued to advance with 17 percent sown by Feb. 26 but it was still running behind a year earlier. (Reporting by Valerie Parent, writing by Sybille de La Hamaide Editing by Susan Fenton)

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